John 15:1-11 — “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Our God is an intentional, consistent and creative God. We can learn so many things about Him from the way that He created even the vines and the branches. Just a few verses before this passage, we see Jesus describe Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life in John 14:6. He talks about Himself being these things as a response to a question. Thomas was wanting answers and directions, and Jesus responded by telling the questioning man about His identity. We so often seek answers, but Jesus shows us here that we just need to seek Him.
When we think about what Jesus said in John 14:6 about being The Life, it ties into what He is saying here. In John 15:1-11, we see Jesus describing Himself as the vine and His people as the branch. In this comparison, we see the main point that Jesus is showing us is that apart from Him we can do nothing. He is The Life and He gives us life.
One of the most fascinating things I have ever learned about is the process of a vinedresser with a vine. The process, intentionality, knowledge and careful hand of the vinedresser is unmatched. The vinedresser has to know the vine, care for the vine, know what to prune and harvest, know what the vine is susceptible to and cultivate the vine. This is exactly how Jesus is describing our God. A vinedresser does not rush through and prune pieces for no reason. A vinedresser also doesn’t leave it up to chance for the vine to survive on its own. We can see so much about our God’s heart for us in this passage.
One word that Jesus uses many times in this passage is “abide.” According to the Webster dictionary, “abide” means to bear patiently, to endure without yielding, to wait for, to accept without objection, to remain stable or fixed in, and to continue in. When we think about what Jesus asks of us, He asks us to remain, to continue, to wait for, to accept without objection. It is only when we abide in this way that we have true life, that His joy is in us, and that our joy is full. In your life and in your week, how can you begin to abide more and more with Jesus? How can you begin to deepen your trust in the vinedresser? Where are you looking for life that is leaving you empty? Turn to Jesus, because He is The Life and He is the only source of Life.